Pharmacy tech allegedly caught on video stealing pills; officers unable to substantiate footage

acarlson@ledger-enquirer.comOctober 18, 2013 

Amanda Owens

A Rite Aid pharmacy technician allegedly confessed to stealing several hundred pills, even though she had prescriptions for them, according to court testimony Friday.

Amanda Owens pleaded not guilty to two counts of acquiring a controlled substance by fraud, nine counts of possession and two counts of possession of dangerous drugs.

All but four of those charges were dismissed in Recorder's Court.

According to police testimony, Owens was seen on store surveillance pocketing several pills bottles instead of stocking them. Additionally, Owens allegedly signed a statement confessing to this act, which was witnessed by store employees.

Owens allegedly stole more than 400 pills, according to testimony.

But arresting officer Adam Cook said in court that he had seen neither the alleged surveillance video nor Owens write the statement — just the statement itself. When the officer arrived on the scene, Rite Aid's loss prevention director told him about the video.

A Rite Aid manager said in court that she had seen a picture taken from the video, which allegedly shows Owens taking the cap off a bottle while standing in a pharmacy aisle — an act the manager called "unusual."

A search of Owens' purse at the time uncovered a dispenser, with nine different pills, which formed the basis for the possession charges.

In court, Owens' defense attorney, Shevon Thomas, produced evidence of his client's prescriptions for each. Her family testified that Owens has been taking medication since she was a teenager, for anxiety, depression and migraines.

Her husband testified that she puts her pills together into a dispenser for convenience.

Reviewing the prescriptions, Judge Michael Cielinski dismissed all but two of the possession charges. Those he kept because two of the pills in Owens' purse matched the two types of pills she allegedly confessed to stealing in her statement, and Cielinski was unable to determine their origin, lawfully prescribed or otherwise.

Cielinski set $1,000 bond for each count of possession of dangerous drugs and $5,000 for each count of acquiring a controlled substance by fraud.

Owens did not make a statement in court. Afterward, Thomas said that his client has no record.

"I feel bad for her," he said.

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